Tian Rou was ready to give a kind response to Baldy’s questions, but his split-second words left her furious. “What do you mean, ‘Why are you here?’” When Tian Rou remembered what he had yelled out earlier that day, she felt like she was about to explode. “Why are you being so ridiculous? Does she have to avoid Lu Chenzhou just because she broke up with him? Do you think that she has AIDS or something?!”
AIDS, an interesting and morbidly relevant analogy.
Baldy made a 囧 face, and Cheng Xi coughed awkwardly, interrupting Tian Rou’s tirade. “I know what you mean. I’m only here on Tian Rou’s behalf, and nothing else. Tian Rou’s feeling a bit anxious, so if it’s convenient for you, please chat with her for some time.”
And then before either of them could react, she pushed the two of them together and walked away.
Of course, Cheng Xi didn’t just leave like that. She just walked a fair distance away before staying around. In her mind, she had to stick around as if Tian Rou and Baldy had another fight, she’d at least be by Tian Rou’s side this time.
Cheng Xi didn’t head into the hotel and instead walked to a nearby garden. Though Cheng Xi didn’t know if Baldy and the others had simply stayed there the entire night or gone back in the morning, they were definitely still there. Cheng Xi felt that Lu Chenzhou probably still didn’t want to see her—if he had said to not look for him, then he clearly didn’t want her to look for him. This was a pure request, devoid of any secondary agenda. At least for this matter, she’d accede to his will.
Sometimes, a suitable amount of distance between two people could help resolve their issues.
Baldy and Tian Rou’s conversation concluded faster than she expected. Tian Rou didn’t return, but Baldy showed up instead. “Thank you. She’s been a bit touchy lately, but if she didn’t talk to me today, then I wouldn’t have known what she was concerned about.”
Just this one sentence from him was enough to make Cheng Xi completely relax. She felt truly happy for Tian Rou, and smiled at Baldy. “You’re welcome. I think that I should also apologize. I never liked you in the past, but perhaps I should reconsider my opinion of you.”
Baldy hesitated for a moment before bursting out into laughter. “Ha, ha. Was it because of that mouth of mine?” He knew himself pretty well.
Cheng Xi smiled again, glanced behind Baldy, and saw Tian Rou looking at them from afar. “Alright, it’s good that you two’ve settled your issues. I don’t think that she’s going to just up and leave now, so lend me the car so that I can go home first. Don’t let her come over, because I’m still mad at her.”
This was the first time that Baldy had seen someone get so mad at their friend that they resolved their relationship issues. He could do nothing besides sigh and acquiesce with a nod. “Alright.” But he called out to Cheng Xi again before she could actually leave. “That…… Dr. Cheng.”
Cheng Xi turned around. “Hmm?”
“Actually, Zhou likes you quite a bit.”
“Hmm.” She smiled vaguely in response.
Baldy scratched his face awkwardly. He really wasn’t used to mediation; he couldn’t even explain his own thoughts well, and his relationship with Tian Rou had developed purely through arguing. Thus, how was he supposed to speak for Boss Lu?! However, when he saw that Cheng Xi seemed to understand what he was trying to say regardless of his inability to express it, he relaxed, waved his hands, and said, “I’m sorry that I can’t express myself well, but as long as you understand……” before abruptly running away.
Cheng Xi saw him skip over to Tian Rou’s side, and then the two of them turned around and waved at her one last time before excitedly heading inside.
She was still smiling as she slowly walked away, but she only took two steps before being forced to stop again.
The night wind was howling, the crackly autumn leaves were rustling, and the corridor lights were throwing suspicious shadows on the walkway. And in the flickering darkness, Lu Chenzhou emerged. His hands were in his pockets as he silently stood behind an artificial mountain. When he caught her glancing at him, he smiled calmly. “You really seem to like worrying about other people.”
Cheng Xi sighed ruefully. “I can’t help it. It’s long since become a part of me.” She moved to the side. “Do you want me to disappear quickly?”
“How quickly can you do it?”
Her lips pursed together, making a crisp “Whoosh~~” sound, and then she asked, “That quickly. Is that acceptable?”
Lu Chenzhou wanted to smile, but his heart felt extremely constrained, as if someone were squeezing it tightly, so tightly that even breathing was difficult.
He looked at her and was instantly reminded of his almost manic desire to see her again and also of his equally manic desire to hurt her. As for her, she probably couldn’t tell what he was thinking about. Actually, the more relaxed she appeared, the madder he became, and the calmer she became, the more he wanted to hurt her, to make her feel the pain he felt right now.
No one had ever made him so upset before, and he’d never felt anything quite so unbearable.
Lu Chenzhou’s gaze darkened as these malevolent thoughts circled in his mind, his pupils as dark as a deep bottomless pit with a ghastly coldness constantly seeping out.
Cheng Xi’s heart shook upon meeting Lu Chenzhou’s gaze, and just as she was about to say, “Then, I’m going to leave now,” Lu Chenzhou interjected. “Can I kiss you?”
For a moment, she thought that she had misheard him, but then Lu Chenzhou repeated himself seriously. “I’d like to kiss you.”
His tone was calm, and it was the exact same one that he used to say mundane things like, “I’m hungry,” or “I need to use the restroom……” Perhaps Cheng Xi was the only one who could use just as cool of a tone to reply, “Can I refuse?”
“I don’t think so.” He tilted his head to the side.
Her tone was serious. “But I don’t want to be a mistress who you see on the side.”
Lu Chenzhou didn’t reply this time. His patience was limited, so he used his actions to tell Cheng Xi that her refusal was meaningless. He wanted to kiss her, so he…… simply kissed her.
Her scent was as fresh and clean as ever, and it had a faint fragrance to it today; he was like a tired and thirsty traveler, trying to suck out as much sweet water as he could from her lips.
Cheng Xi initially refused his advances, but her techniques that worked on others were ineffective against him. He didn’t react at all when she pinched his nerves, and right before she was about to hit him, he caught her hand. Her whole body was pinned up against the artificial mountain, the rocks digging into her back. In this rough and ragged environment and this uncomfortable situation, it was very difficult for her to feel any pleasant emotions from his kisses.
Luckily, Lu Chenzhou’s kiss, while intense, didn’t last for very long. After he was done, he even wiped her lips for her. His actions afterward were perfectly gentle, but his words were disgusting. “Kissing you feels the same as kissing anyone else.”
Cheng Xi looked at him. “If you said that to anyone else, they’d hit you.”
“Then why don’t you hit me?”
“Because I love you, of course.”
Lu Chenzhou paused.
Cheng Xi continued talking. “You said that you have a new girlfriend, but you still came over here to tease me. That’s inappropriate behavior. I’ll forgive you this once, but never do this again. As I’ve said, even though you’re handsome, wealthy, skillful, and can do anything in the world, I still have my own moral baseline. Lu Chenzhou, you can love whomever you want, but that doesn’t mean I have to smile and be happy for you, and neither does it mean that I’ll accept you with open arms whenever you want.”
After she said all this, she pushed him away and retreated backwards. “Lu Chenzhou, I can also get jealous, and I can also get upset. But as long as you don’t do anything unforgivable, I’ll bide my time and…… keep waiting for you. I’ll keep waiting for you to turn around and find me, waiting for you to mend this relationship with me. Waiting to see if I’ll leave you.”
When she finished speaking, Cheng Xi turned around to run away. She really shouldn’t have said all this, speaking as if he were truly in love with someone else.
But had Lu Chenzhou truly fallen in love with someone else?
After Cheng Xi left, Lu Chenzhou didn’t return to the mahjong table. He stood in place, motionless, for quite a while before retreating to his own room.
That girl who’d been accompanying him for the past few days, but whose face he couldn’t even remember, came over to find him. “Director Lu, aren’t you going to continue playing?”
Lu Chenzhou stretched his hand lazily towards her. “Come over here.”
The girl obediently walked up to him.
Lu Chenzhou scrutinized her face curiously as he coolly asked, “Can I kiss you?”